A color guard prepares for a previous Antioch Independence Day parade. This year’s parade marks Antioch’s 125th anniversary. (Antioch Park District/HANDOUT)
Ever since Antioch was incorporated 125 years ago, the village has held a parade and festival on Fourth of July, said Toni Galster, special event coordinator for the Antioch Park District
To celebrate the tradition and the village’s founding, the annual Independence Day Parade will feature businesses and community residents representing five generations. These include the Silent Generation, born 1945 and earlier; Baby Boomers born 1946-1964; Generation X, born 1965-1979; Generation Y, born 1980-1995; and the Millennial Generation, born 1996-2010.
Individuals, businesses and other organizations are signing up for different generations, Galster said, and on the day of the parade, they’ll be carrying banners (while walking or towing or riding floats) representing the generations, while a DJ plays music from different eras. The regular parade entrants also will be there — including horses, bands and tractors, all of which symbolize Antioch’s start as a farming and tourism community.
The parade begins at 10:30 a.m. at Antioch Community High School on Main Street, and travels north on Route 83 through town, stopping at Williams Park where a festival begins at noon.
Those who want to start early can join the 5K freedom run at 8 a.m., sponsored by the State Bank of the Lakes. More than 1,500 participants walk and run in the event, which has operated for 22 years, Galster said.
Bank employees will register the runners, man the water stations and hand out medals to winners. “When the last participant crosses the line, the bank employees dash off to the parade,” she said.
To register for the event, go to sbotl.com/2017-Antioch-Run-For-Freedom.html.
After the parade, families can attend a festival that begins with a kids fair and ends with fireworks.
The kids fun fair from noon to 2 p.m., and features old-fashioned games, including knock-the-cans-over and pluck-a-duck, plus a contemporary game, Minion buckets.
During the afternoon, children can participate in Bingo and win candy, while adults later participate in Bingo featuring the traditional monetary awards. Adults also can sign up for a bags tournament that begins at 3 p.m. The cost is $10 per person and $20 per team.
The Moose and Lion’s Club will sell freshly grilled food — and hungry festival goers can also purchase ice cream and roasted corn.
Live music includes the Brass Buckle Band, which performs country rock, and EZFM, a cover band from Island Lake.
“Mellencougar (a John Mellencamp tribute band) will bring on the fireworks,” Galster said.
What Galster likes best about the Fourth of July celebration is that “it’s a community event. It’s a time for you and your neighbors to get together and have fun together and to celebrate the Fourth and this year, our 125th.”
The best place to see the fireworks display, which happens at dusk, is from Williams Park, she said.
“With all the people, it’s unbelievable. You become a child again. That’s what it’s all about — you’re with a large group of people and it’s intense. You feel it and see it through children’s eyes.”
Sheryl DeVore is a freelance writer for the News-Sun.
Antioch’s Independence Day Celebration
When: 8 a.m.-10:30 p.m. July 4
Where: Williams Park, 71 Main St., Antioch
Tickets: Free admission
Information: 847-395-2160; antioch.il.gov